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Have you ever asked yourself the question: Is this all there is? One of the greatest causes of despair and unhappiness is not doing what we want to be doing. I call this your soul ache. That inner knowing that you keep putting yourself off. That you keep putting off the things your inner warrior wants to do until the future. Your soul knows. You feel it. It’s a gentle nudging. A longing. Glennon Doyle speaks of the knowing.
Listen to that soul ache
Now, we may hear it but do we listen? I’ve done a lot of things over the years to avoid paying attention to this nudge, to avoid listening to my inner warrior. It’s possible you have too. Say you know planning meals would help you feel calm and meet your goals during the week. Or you know that it would be helpful to sit down with your family and divvy up some house responsibilities. Instead, what do we do? We make things up in our heads as to why taking ten minutes to meal plan or 10 minutes to divide up some house responsibilities doesn’t make sense right now. We say things like it will take too much time, they won’t like to be interrupted or there will be a struggle, or this will never work. Drama! Talk about manifesting a future you don’t want? We don’t even get started because we’ve already chosen the worst negative outcome.
Quit ahead of time
And then what do we do instead of getting to the goals in our life? Oh, there’s a whole assortment of distractions. Sometimes the things I’ve done have been rather obvious distractors: the usual: social media, Netflix, shopping, sleeping in. Other times I’ve distracted myself with more noble causes: organizing, going on non-urgent errands, over involving myself with the others in our lives, over parenting, over nagging, worrying ….all of these are time wasters and suckers, yet noble seeming as we feel like we’re helping somehow.
Over nagging our kids, they need it, right? Worrying about our husband’s stress? Helpful, ey? Complaining about a recent phone conversation with your mother, necessary, right? Uh….hate to break it to you but no! Going on non-urgent errands? Nope! What it does do is distract us from the life we want to be living. The life our inner warrior is calling us to live.
Self care vs self sabotage
How do you know the difference between these noble self saboteurs and actual action items that are moving the needle forward in your life? Look at the grades you gave yourself in those ten categories in my last post and truth check yourself. If you’re organizing because you scored low on your environment and you intentionally decided clearing clutter was your main task for this week, boom. Permission to organize. However, if you graded yourself low on relationships and you’re organizing instead of sitting and being with your child, then BEEP, you’ve been caught out. Ingredient for a soul ache.
Same with the complaining about your phone conversation with your mother. If you’re complaining to hear your voice, spread negativity, and feel reassured that she’s the crazy one…time suck. If you’re complaining with the intent to learn of your role in the interaction and how you can more skillfully handle it the next time as you rated personal relationships an area you wanted to grow in, boom. At the end of the day, the month, the year, you’ll know the difference.
How to actually achieve your goals
This week, I want to help you take the action steps needed to fulfill your goals. Do not let your life hijack the life you’re here to live. Our brains are wired to have the time-wasters come up, for them to feel urgent. In addition, if you were raised in a patriarchal society (most first world nations), we’ve been programmed to put others first. You have been raised in a society that programs you to put other’s needs before ours. If you’re a busy woman, there will always be something to come up, something that needs your attention, someone who could use your help. If you are running around helping those someones and doing those somethings then you never have time for your life and your goals.
This is the main ingredient in burnout. Also in emotional exhaustion. It’s a sure fire way to feel resentment. How do I know this? I’ve been there. It doesn’t feel good and I’m passionate about helping women remove drama from their lives so they can live the lives they’re here to live. Let’s use the knowledge you gained in the last post to get clear on where your soul is aching, what your inner warrior is calling you to do, and decide that this year will be different. Let’s get to the end of this year with pride; knowing you’re taking steps towards a future of your design, of your desires. A life you want to be living. Without constantly asking yourself: Is this all there is?
Nothing ever comes up
Truth of adulthood: Nothing ever “comes up”. If you’re listening to this, you’re an adult. You have self advocacy, responsibility, and accountability. No matter. You have choices. I was a single mom during the years I began my business. I know first hand how the female brain can manifest guilt and responsibility. I also know first hand how bitter and sour I would feel when I routinely put my needs aside. One of the keys to a life well-lived is to set boundaries in your relationships. This involves many cognitive behavioral tools, one of which is clear concise communication.
Here’s an example of how boundaries with ccc (clear concise communication) can work. Say you want to write a book and you’ve scheduled 2 hours on Saturday to begin. What if your daughter comes in and asks you to go dress shopping right then? Ooh, I know! Mom martyr brains are like: forget about writing! Must help other humans live their life. NOPE. Coach Susie offers this alternative response: “Oh I’d love to yet I have scheduled 9-11 for writing. I can help you after that.”
Uncomfortable yet not enabling. What message are you sending to your daughter if you jump up to go dress shopping even though you told her all last week you could go. That you need to matter. That your schedule and your time doesn’t matter. What message are you sending your daughter when you abort your plans to help her? That her disorganization is okay. That your needs don’t matter. Neither message helps our children gain confidence, resiliency, and life skills.
Yes, I get it. You’re thinking “but she has body image issues and needs me to help her choose a dress” or “But she never asks me to go shopping with her”. Yes and she’s not on fire. Her needs are urgent to her. You need to make your needs urgent to you. People learn to treat us the way we teach them to. If you’re always available to shop for dresses or to help with an interview, they never learn to manage their times and their priorities either.
Another truth bomb here is there is probably a part of you that welcomes the distraction. Welcomes the excuse to not sit your butt down and do the work of growth. Our brain loves this – no need to push through your discomfort and write, you have someone handing you an excuse. You are needed!
Call BS on the distractions
Growth involves discomfort. It is part of it. Begin to notice when your brain is looking for excuses and distractions. Begin to call it out. We often look for any reason to delay the discomfort of growth. And yet, this discomfort, these steps, lead us to live a life we love. It’s what we call discomfort now or later. Sure, take your daughter shopping and avoid the discomfort of sitting at your laptop and brainstorming ideas. You will have discomfort later. You may even feel resentment towards your daughter yet without boundaries and clear concise communication, she doesn’t know your plans. Allow yourself to feel the discomfort of setting a boundary or having writer’s block now. It’s much less than the discomfort you’ll feel when you get to the end of the day knowing you’ve let yourself down again.
Is this all there is?
When you’re not doing the things you want to be doing, you’re going to feel half alive. You’re going to have an inner nagging, an inner poking, an inner questioning of “Is this all there is?” When you’re consistently aborting your plans to please someone else, you will wonder if there’s more to life than all of this. I’m here to tell you there is. THERE IS MORE THAN THIS. You feel that way because you’re living other people’s lives. You’re being super helpful in helping them achieve their goals, meet their needs, do what they want to do. Yet what about you? You’re not here to live someone else’s life. You’re here to live YOUR life!
Living life through your kids or your husband or your parents or because this is what women are “supposed” to do leads you to living a life full of regrets. A life that looks good on the outside, on Facebook posts or pictures but that feels empty on the inside. Not on my watch!
Make This Year Different
Choose to live this year for you. Choose to put yourself and your goals first. What’s the other alternative? Putting yourself and your dreams on the back burner for another year? Setting the model that you don’t matter, for yourself and for those around you? You’ve done that and where does that lead? To the land of bitter and sour. To the land of disappointment. To the land of low confidence. Let’s learn the lesson of 2020 and make this year different by doing these three things. Putting yourself first doesn’t mean disregarding everyone else or turning into some crazed narcissist. It means that you take a stand for you and make yourself a priority in your life.
1. Get a calendar
First way to do that is with a schedule. Bet you didn’t think I’d say that, ey? Truly. My number one tool for my peace and sanity is my calendar. Now, before you go asking me which kind I use and where to get one, stop. The one I use probably won’t be right for you just as the one you use probably won’t be right for me. This is not the point. The point is to get an actual tangible calendar, one you can write on, and to make this your year to start using it. Imperfectly.
If you notice your brain getting all defensive and talking back to me, like no Susie, I need the right one, stop. We waste so much time in indecision. This is a great opportunity for you to bust some perfectionism. There is no perfect calendar and there is no “right choice”. If one looks good to you on Amazon or in Target, get it and use it this month. If you like certain things about the one you got, bonus! You can buy it again for 2022. If you don’t, toss it at the end of this month and start over. Just get one and get started. The Nike slogan serves us well: Just do it. Please note I did not say download one on your phone.
Our phone is a distraction device.
Do not use your phone. Choose to get a paper calendar today. I understand that you have a digital calendar. So does everyone over the age of 6. If you want to feel calmer, reach your goals, and live a life in alignment with your values, get a paper calendar. Stop looking for excuses and get started.
2. Use it
Lol seriously. Now that you have the calendar. Use it. Having structure creates calm. Start small and start. As Gretchen Rubin says discipline gives us freedom. I know from personal experience, having structure creates calm. We crave structure and yet, we usually resist holding ourselves accountable. Does this sound familiar? If you need to do something for someone else, you’ll do it but for you? Come on warriors, we’re doing it differently this year. We are taking imperfect action starting today.
Get it out. Start writing on it. Anything. start with something easy: some people begin by writing what they did the day before Fine. Get started. Choose something you did and write it in a time slot. Now think of something you want to do today. Eat lunch for example. When will you eat lunch? Allow double the time to eat lunch then you think. Give yourself some buffers. If you want to get to bed at 10:30, write upstairs at 9:30 or 10 on your calendar. Give yourself space. If your brain resists writing these basic aspects of your care down, email me. I have some free resources that can help.
If you found yourself saying “I don’t have time to schedule” I want to call you out. That’s like saying I don’t have time to insert the address into the GPS before taking a new trip. Pause. Take time to plan the day of the life you are living. You matter. When we don’t, that’s how we end up repeating days and weeks and months over and over and calling it a life. Nope.
We crave structure in life. The habit of scheduling and disciplining yourself is your path to freedom.
Go back to your report card from episode 127. Where does your soul ache most? You may be tempted to say I don’t know or I’m confused. I encourage you to push through. We waste a lot of time in confusion and indecision. You are making a decision by not making a decision. Choose something. Just as there’s no wrong answer, there’s no wrong decision. Choose an area to focus on this week and set small tasks to move forward. Flip a coin if that helps. Decide and do. You will learn the way on the way. Give yourself permission to be messy. To drop the perfectionism.
Dear warriors, 2020 was a year. For many of us, it pushed pause in our life of running errands and busy-ness to see the life we are truly living. For most, this was an uncomfortable truth to see. Like looking at bright light without sunglasses. Keep looking. That’s where the growth is. Looking and accepting and moving forward. What are you doing that’s helpful for you? Where are you making excuses?
Stop asking yourself, is this all there is? Choose to live this year for you. Choose to put yourself and your goals first. You matter to me. If you haven’t yet signed up to get free weekly inspiration and support from me, please do that right now. www.SMBwell.com/newsletter Then get started with your paper calendar today. If not now, then when?
Please share this post with one other person who may be wondering “Is this all there is?” The more people who go around taking steps to live a happier life, the better off we all are.
Interested in taking it a bit deeper? Join our free online Warrior Women Community.
You are never alone, dear warrior.